PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images
Indian youth protest outside the Saket Court complex in New Delhi on September 10, 2013. An Indian court convicted four men of the gang rape and murder of a physiotherapy student on board a moving bus in a crime that sickened the nation.
Four men convicted Tuesday for the December rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in India are due to learn Wednesday whether they will be sentenced to death by hanging.
From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy reported on Morning Edition that there's great "political pressure ... to mete out the most extreme punishment." She called the guilty verdicts "a moment that the family [of the victim] and the country has been waiting for."
According to Julie, the judge on Tuesday "threw the book at these four men" — going to some length to describe the heinous nature of their crimes.
On Tuesday, Julie added that "in a country where sex crimes are so prevalent," the victim in this case "became a symbol of sexual assault." What happened to her "captured the Indian imagination ... and brought the government to its knees to change the laws" about sexual offenses against women.
"The four men, along with another suspect who hanged himself in prison and a juvenile convicted in August, were riding through [New Delhi] on an off-duty bus in December when they tricked the 23-year-old woman and a male friend into boarding.
"They beat the friend into submission, held down the woman and repeatedly raped her. They also penetrated the woman repeatedly with an iron rod, causing severe internal injuries that led to her death two weeks later."
The case, adds the BBC, "forced the introduction of tough new laws to punish sexual offenses."
The juvenile convicted for the crime was sentenced to three years in a reform facility.